By Mark Brooks, posted at https://www.onlinegiving.org/blog
A recent Lifeway Research poll of active church members found that only 8% of the respondents had made their giving recurring! This May would be a great time to increase the average number of your members setting up their giving to be recurring.
A recent Lifeway Research poll on churchgoers’ views on tithing, the practice of giving 10% of your income to your church, gave some interesting statistics about not only Americans’ views of tithing but also how they give to churches. One that caught my eye was that only 8% say they have signed up for their giving to be automatic. That is a 5% increase since Lifeway Research asked a similar question in 2017. Yet that slow growth is causing many churches to miss out on hundreds to thousands of dollars.1. As we move into summer, when giving is challenged, recurring giving can assure your summer is free from the worry of paying the bills.
We have shared many times here the benefits of recurring giving. To find out more, check out this post:
Why is May a good time to put focus on recurring giving? One major reason is that the summer has always been a giving challenge for churches. Since we know that, why not get ahead of the problem by getting people to set their giving up to be recurring? People are thinking about vacations and planning their summer. By mentioning the ease of recurring giving, you’ll put the thought on people’s minds better, assuring that their gift doesn’t go on vacation with them.
Another reason I like to hold a May push for recurring giving is that summer is your most active time for missions and ministry. This summer, you will be doing amazing work, from ministering to children to mission trips around the globe. May is a great time to focus on how giving makes life change happen. We always like to link how a dollar given at your church impacts Kingdom ministry. Appeals aimed at the heart always receive more. By telling your story of the impact of summer ministries, you can then direct people to the sign-up page for recurring giving.
May is a good time to focus on recurring giving for those two reasons. Here are some thoughts on how to run a recurring giving campaign.
First, be aware of your percentages! Our studies have shown that churches focusing on recurring giving always do better during the summer than those that don’t. Given this fact, it is stunning that more churches don’t encourage recurring giving. Part of the problem is a lack of awareness of the giving habits of our congregation. Someone on your staff or team should be tracking the overall percentage of digital versus traditional means of giving. At the same time, you need to know what percentage of your giving comes via recurring giving. We like to also break that percentage down by those using a credit card and those using ACH.
Moving members from credit card transactions to direct deposit from their bank account to the church’s (ACH payments) can save you thousands of dollars annually. See this post for more information on how ACH recurring giving can save your church money, https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/saving-you-time-and-money.
After you have reviewed your current percentage, set a realistic target for recurring giving to increase. I’ve often advocated for setting a 10% goal for increasing recurring giving to be one that most churches can hit easily. The larger your budget, the more difficult it might be to hit 10% but set some goals to gauge your success. Every person that signs up for recurring giving increases what you will receive.
Finally, develop a plan of action. A simple weekly action plan will increase signups for recurring giving and, thus, increase summer giving. Here are some practical steps to take.
- First, encourage all staff and team members to sign up for recurring giving. We cannot teach what we have not modeled. I would encourage all key leaders to make their giving recurring.
- Send a snail mail, email, or text message to your most consistent donors who are not signed up for recurring giving. Start the message with a positive appeal about all the events coming up this summer. Thank those donors for their generosity and invite them to sign up to make their giving recurring.
- Make sure that all automated communications, thank you notes, etc., mention recurring giving. We have this set as a default message for our clients, but they can also personalize messages.
- Every weekend in May, through all communications, social media to platform communication, put a positive spin on how recurring giving will help your church’s summer ministries and missions.
People don’t use what they are not aware of. One of the biggest mistakes churches make after setting up online giving is forgetting about it. Too often, we assume our members know the various giving options available. They don’t. This is one reason why, surprisingly, the Lifeway study also found that 62% of respondents said they had yet to use any digital format to give.
The churches we partner with have a much better rate of recurring giving and people using some aspect of our thirteen giving options. As a result, they are in a better position to ensure that their summer missions and ministries are fully funded. Are you in a good position? We would love to show you how those options can help improve your giving. For a demonstration, contact us at (615) 206-4000 or email us at email@example.com.